All for Quran & Tajweed

The Cutting Hamzah: Hamzatul Qat’ November 1, 2011

Have you ever wondered why the latest and greatest things are referred to as “cutting edge”? Like, cutting edge technology, or cutting edge research… Are there such things as cutting edge words? What about cutting off people in mid-sentence? Mid-word? Is there anything cutting edge enough to do that? Maybe a cutting hamzah

Hamzatul Qat’[1]: the cutting hamzah is represented by the following symbol ( ء ). It should not be mistaken with the letter alif ( ا ), but it should be noted that it often occurs on the alif ( أ or إ ). This post will cover some general rules about the hamzatul qat’, while also taking a close look at the letter itself.

The hamzatul qat’ sound is produced by cutting off the air stream at the top of the windpipe (then letting it go for a breath, of course!). It is similar to pressing the stop button on a tape player in mid-word.

The hamzatul qat’ can be found in a number of places within a word:

At the beginning it may appear as:

ءَأنْتُم      أحْمَد

Ahmad         A-antum

At the end of the word, it may appear on the line:



The hamzatul qat’ also appears on the three voweled letters, and on a spike (commonly referred to as a “chair”) of it’s own.

On the alif, it can appear at the beginning of the word as shown previously, at the end of a word, or in the middle of a word:



Appearing on the waaw under certain Arabic grammar rules, the hamzah looks like so:



The hamzah appears on the yaa at the end of the word as so:



Appearing on it’s own tooth, chair, or spike, the hamzah is written like so:



From the above, we can observe that whenever a hamzatul qat’ enters on a harf madd, the harf madd is not sounded, rather the 2 vowels are cut simply into a fat-ha, dammah, or kasra. After all, it is the cutting hamzah!

Let’s observe some of the tajweed rules involved with this hamzah.

Hamzatul Wasl meets Hamzatul Qat’

When the hamzatul qat’ is preceded by a hamzatul wasl, there are two rulings.

If the hamzatul wasl is dropped, because the word starting with it is connected to the preceding word, then the hamzatul qat’ is sounded as per normal. Example,


(read as الذِءْتُمِنَ )

If the hamzatul wasl is NOT dropped, because the reciter is starting at that word, then the hamzatul qat’ is dropped, and the harf madd it is “sitting on” is sounded for 2 counts. Example,


To break it down, the process is simple. The hamzah on the 2nd letter (i.e. the hamzatul qat) is “transferred” onto the hamzatul wasl, and the respective diacritic is assigned such that a madd badal is can then be sounded. Based on this process, the word above is read as أُوتُمِنَ 

Another example is as follows. In this word, the hamzatul qat is replaced by a yaa’ madeeyah such that the word “i-i-tinaa” beocomes


Hamzatul Qat’ and Al-Madd Al-‘Iwad

When a word ends with hamzatul qat’, whether on a yaa, or on the line, the hamzatul qat’ must be voweled for two counts. Example,

Binaaa’aa (when stopping)

Hamzatul Qat’ precedes Hamzatul Wasl

There is one occurance of this in the Quran (where a hamzatul qat’ precedes a hamzatul wasl). This word has the “ease of pronunciation” rule applied to it, because it is very difficult for the tongue to pronounce. It also ties in with the grammar rule about the impermissiblity of two saakin letters being together.


(read as ءَءَعْجَمِيٌّ ) – this word is found in Fussilat (41:44)

It would be impossible to say it with both saakin on the hamzatul wasl and the ayn, as the hamzatul wasl cuts off the air way, which prevents the tongue moving back to make the silent ayn sound!

Try it for yourself: block off your airway with your tongue, then move it back to say a slient ayn, and notice that your tongue cannot be at 2 places at the same time.

Hamzatul Qat’ opposes Qalqalah

As a final note, remember that hamzatul qat’ and qalqalah are complete opposites. Many people who stop at a word ending with a hamzatul qat’ will sound a small “ehh” qalqalah. 

Remember that qat’ means to cut, so you must cut off the airway AND cut off the sound.

You can test to see if you sound this small qalqalah by doing two things:

1. Place four fingers over your mouth and say a word that ends with hamzatul qat’. Example, samaa’

If, on your fingers, you feel a small amount of air being released at the end of the word, then you must be sounding this qalqalah (because the airway passage wasn’t cut off). Keep practising until you no longer feel this breath of air.

2. Record your voice for a few seconds, as you say “aaaa”. Play it back, and mid way hit the stop button. Compare that to what you sound like after saying a word that ends with hamzatul qat’. If you can notice that “ehh” sound, then you are not fulfiling the rights of this letter. Which means only one thing: practice.

For those who may be familiar with something called ishmaam and rawm, then I know what you’ll be protesting about. But that’s to discuss in another post.

Resources Link:

– Document “Hamzatul Qate’”

– Sukoon [Gateway To Arabic: page 48]

Note, these documents are found on the resources page.

[1] همزة الفطع


5 Responses to “The Cutting Hamzah: Hamzatul Qat’”

  1. El Isbani Says:

    ASA. I want to make sure I have this correct, on Hamzatul Wasl meets Hamzatul Qat’ in the second situation, it seems that the post says that we sould pronounce it almost as if it were a hamzatul wasl followed by a yaa saakinah (in the sense that both would sound like “eetinaa”). Would this be considered a form of ” badl ” ?

    • heesbees Says:

      Yes, that’s correct, I wanted to point it out, but I was scared I’ll confuse my readers. When that happens, you pronounce the harf madd with 2 counts, which is also the same length as the Madd Al-Badal🙂 I’m really happy you picked up on it!

  2. nafisa Says:

    salaams when you speak of tasheel here can you make there refference to madd al farq also?
    and is the preffered riwayyah ibdal

    P.S. jazakallah for your reply about siffah, sorry didnt get back to you sooner.

    oh and one more thins can you explain to me words qiyyasiyaah how are they assigned the harakah on the humza tul wasl, are there only specific words in the quran, and what is the difference between samaeeyah and qiyaseeyah.
    i understand samaeeyah that these 7 words were transmitted by rasoolalah (saw) so they are an exception to the 3rd letter vowel rule. but qiyaseeyah is bugging what are they are they specific in number,


    • Salaams Sis Nafisa… I’m very sorry for the time it’s taken me to reply to your comments. Subhanallah, every day I decide to sit down and just dedicate even 20minutes to getting something on the site or replying to comments, I get distracted…
      I hope you can be patient with me for another couple of days, as uni is very hectic at the moment. Insha Allah I’ll go through my notes and answer you as soon as possible.

      Love and salaams..

  3. Amatullah Says:

    Alsalamu alaykum sister,

    I have some questions on hamzatul qat’.

    1. About this: “When a word ends with hamzatul qat’, whether on a yaa, or on the line, the hamzatul qat’ must be voweled for two counts”. I have not been able to locate an example with a hamzatul qat’ located on a yaa at the end of a word where it meets the madd iwad so i was wondering if you could give me an example of this?

    2. Regarding “Hamzatul Qat’ precedes Hamzatul Wasl” and the word “A-a-’jamee”. I thought the alif with a circle on top of it was a silent alif. Why is it called hamzatul wasl when it doesn’t look like a hamzatul wasl? And why is it sukoon? I thought the hamzatul wasl is not pronounced except when it is the first letter in a sentence.
    Had i not seen your post, then i simply would have have read the word like this: ” ‘a’jamee ” starting with hamza then fatha and then straight to the letter ayn, thinking that the alif is silent (whether if it is the silent alif or hamzatul wasl) and thus not pronounced it at all so no sukoon would be there since the hamza has a fatha.

    3. As for hamzatul qat’ when stopping. Should the sound be removed completly as if the hamza wasen’t there or should a small part of it come out but without any echo? And is this rule only for when one stops at a word with this hamza at the end or should the sound of this hamza but cut even when in the middle of a sentence such as in the word sama’a in 37:6?

    Jazaki Allah khayr in this dunya and after this dunya.

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